Good Haul

Dorian E. Gray israfel at
Wed Jun 27 15:47:53 EDT 2001

Sally elaborated...

(By the way, Sally, recently on my writers' list, one of the Aussies
complained that there were hardly any Aussie spec-fic writers.  One of the
other Aussies retaliated with a list of at least two dozen Aussie spec-fic
writers...and you were one of those listed!  I sat there thinking happily,
"I know her.  She's a friend on a couple of other lists.  I know her.

Okay, getting on to what I really meant to talk about...

> > >The Gate to Women's Country, Sheri S Tepper - This author has been
> recommended, but I haven't actually got to reading her. Something about
> name (how petty!) put me off.

Hm.  (Caveat: this is my opinion.  Anything I say is my opinion.  Ignore it
if you choose.)

I've read a few of Tepper's books.  (Though not, I'll admit, that particular
one.)  I enjoyed the "Marianne" trilogy - the first, most, the last, least.
I also liked "The True Game".  I was very disappointed with her "Beauty",
which started out looking like the kind of story I adore - a fairy-tale
retelling.  She mixed at least a dozen fairy tales in (that's not bad.  Look
at "Howl's Moving Castle" - you can get lots of fairy tales and/or fairy
tale ideas into one book in a very good way!).  But about half-way through,
it stopped being fantasy and started being science fiction and went all
strident feminist.  And I have the feeling (though I don't know for sure,
and I may be wrong) that a lot of her work is stridently feminist.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against feminism in principle.  But
in practice, most of the feminists I've come across have been of the "men
are evil" variety.  Furthermore, I have a constitutional dislike of being
told what to do or think, so when someone pops up and tells me "you ought to
think this" - and especially if they tell me "since you're a woman, you must
think this"...I get peeved.

And I saw, in "Beauty", a certain amount of soapbox-ing, of (implied, rather
than stated outright) "you are a woman, you must think this - and if you're
a man, well then you'd better get your act together and behave yourself!"
And that annoyed me a lot.

But this is all my opinion, and what I read into Ms. Tepper's writing, and
may not be the case for others.  And I haven't read "The Gate into Women's
Country" anyway (frankly, the title put me off!  I expect it to be a
strident feminist book, and I don't want to read any more of that kind of

Let us know what it's like, and if my prejudices are justified, or if I
should give myself a good kick in the rear and read it. :-)

> > >New World, Gillian Cross - Cross is a very good writer sometimes...
> depends what day she's been having. At this price I took a punt.

Yep, I've found that with her too.  "Chartbreak" was great, "The Dark Behind
the Curtain" was quite good...but "A Map of Nowhere"?  Very disappointing.
(Especially since I'm a role-player myself.)

> > >Spindle's End, Robin McKinley - Have been wondering whether to buy
> She's usually very good, but sometimes a bit too painful... got to be in
> right mood.

Only for "Deerskin", surely?  The others of hers that I've read have been
quite...comfortable.  With the possible exception of "Rose Daughter", which
Hallie lent me recently, and which...well, I didn't find it painful, but I
didn't like it as much as "Beauty" (her "Beauty", not Sheri S. Tepper's
"Beauty" - just in case anyone's confused!).  I found it a bit overly
clever, and...well, yes, less comfortable than "Beauty", but not painful.  A
little edgy, perhaps.

In my way of applying colours to books (Hallie, at least, knows what I'm
talking about here!), "Beauty" is a warm rose-pink, but "Rose Daughter" is a
scratchy maroon.

But let us know what "Spindle's End" is like, too, please - Robin McKinley
is one of my favourite authors.
> > >Urn Burial, Robert Westall - A good book from a very reliable Brit
> fantasy writer.  Have read it from the lib, and now found my own copy!

Ooh, I've not read that one - though I've read a lot of his.  Is it one of
his older ones (say, pre-"Futuretrack Five")?  Or is it new?  He's another
great writer.
> Oh, and as my oblig DWJ ref... I found a copy of Wild Robert recently and
> bought that, and drooled over a beautiful pb of FIRE AND HEMLOCK...
> convinced myself, sadly, I didn't need a new copy. Sigh.

Grin.  Sympathy.  I just lent my F&H to a friend from another list (along
with "Howl's Moving Castle", "The Time of the Ghost" and "Deep Secret".  I
have every hope of making a convert - she asked me what the Harry Potter
books were like, and I said I thought they were good, but brain-candy.  She
said "oh no, I don't like brain-candy", so she should get on well with DWJ!
If she likes those four, I'll lend her the rest.  And then I'll make her
join this list.  And then the Irish faction will start thinking about world
domination... :-)

Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
israfel at

"I feel that if a character cannot communicate, the very least he can do is
to shut up!"
--Tom Lehrer

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